Mariners-Rockies: Colorado Catches Break in Seattle Pitching Change

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, July 12, 2018 5:01 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 12, 2018 5:01 PM UTC

The Colorado Rockies were originally to face Seattle ace and All-Star snub James Paxton on Friday in Denver but instead get to tee off on a Triple-A call-up.

Seattle at ColoradoFriday, 8:40 p.m. ETFree MLB Pick: RockiesBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies close the first half of the season against one another, with Game 1 of their three-game interleague set from Coors Field on Friday at 8:40 p.m. ET. No national TV available.

One almost has to feel sorry for the Mariners. They are on a 100-win pace – we could have four teams win 100 games (Red Sox, Yankees and Astros) for the first time in MLB history – and would be leading four other divisions but are stuck behind Houston in the AL West. So it’s probably wild card or bust for the M’s, and that game would be against either the powerhouse Red Sox or Yankees. And it’s not a sure thing that Seattle, with the longest playoff drought in the majors, even gets that second wild-card spot with the A’s surging behind them.

It’s the second weekend in a row the Mariners and Rockies play as last weekend Colorado took two of three in Seattle. Ryon Healy had a five-RBI game on Sunday to help Seattle avoid the sweep; the first two games were Rockies blowouts. Trevor Story was 4-for-8 in the series with a homer. Carlos Gonzalez was 5-for-12 with two doubles and a homer. Charlie Blackmon went yard twice for the Rockies. Slugger Nelson Cruz struggled for Seattle, going 0-for-9 with four strikeouts.

Seattle loses the DH for this series so Cruz either will be relegated to pinch-hitting or the Mariners will stick him in right field, where Cruz is a defensive liability. Plus, moving Cruz to right would mean benching Mitch Haniger, who is having a stellar offensive season (leads the majors with 13 game-winning RBI). Both Cruz and Haniger were named as AL All-Star reserves, and Jean Segura won the Final Fan Vote to be added to the roster. Cruz turned down an invitation to compete in the Home Run Derby.

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz also was named an All-Star, as he should have been. He has a chance to break/tie the MLB record of 38 saves before the All-Star break, set by Francisco Rodriguez 10 years ago. Seattle is unbeaten this year in any game Diaz pitches.

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Marco Gonzales, with Wade LeBlanc (Jun 16) and Christian Bergman (May 16): First season where three Mariners pitchers have each thrown 7+ scoreless IP with ≤ 2 hits and no walks. Russ Swan and Erik Hanson in 1990 had been the only time two did it.

— Doug Kern (@dakern74) July 12, 2018

Probable Pitchers: Bergman vs. Senzatela

One All-Star snub in the American League was Mariners ace left-hander James Paxton, nicknamed the “Big Maple” because he’s from Canada. Paxton (8-3, 3.49) is Top 10 in the American League in strikeouts (154), WHIP (1.07) and innings (118.2). He was supposed to pitch Friday, but with Felix Hernandez landing on the DL this week and the team off Monday he was moved up to face the Angels on Thursday.

I’m sure the Rockies are more than happy to avoid Paxton, although he was a loser to Colorado last Saturday, allowing four runs and seven hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts. A three-run homer by Noel Cuevas in the seventh inning was the killer. It will be Christian Bergman called up from Triple-A to make this spot start.

Bergman made his major-league debut in 2014 with Colorado and is 11-14 career with a 5.39 ERA in 208.2 innings, a majority as a reliever. He has made one appearance/start this year for Seattle and it was fantastic, seven shutout innings vs. Texas on May 16 with two hits allowed, no walks and five Ks. This year at Triple-A Tacoma, Bergman is 6-6 with a 4.78 ERA in 18 starts.

Colorado’s Antonio Senzatela (3-2, 5.34) began the year with 10 relief appearances but has started the past two times out. He shut out the Giants on three hits over seven innings in July 3 but then lost Sunday in Seattle, giving up six runs over six innings. Healy hit a three-run sixth-inning homer off him to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.

  • Mariners are 2-7 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Rockies are 4-0 in their last 4 Friday games.
  • Rockies are 9-3 in their last 12 overall.

Senzatela has been much better at home (2-0, 3.52 ERA in 15.1 IP) than on the road (1-2, 7.20 ERA in 15 IP this year). Meanwhile, there’s a reason that the 30-year-old Bergman has spent most of his career in the minors. Take Colorado for a Friday MLB pick.

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